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This message invites animal protection groups throughout the world to sign an open letter addressed to the Austrian Minister of Justice. An almost identical one has already been signed by over a hundred groups within Austria. It is a last resort measure to stop charges being laid against dozens of individuals and NGOs as a criminal network!

The context

You are already aware of the unprecedented attack on the Austrian animal rights movement last year. On May 21 2008, a violent police operation was carried out leading to the arrest of 10 individuals and the seizing of the materials of a number of legally registered associations, bringing their work effectively to a halt. These arrests were carried out under article 278a of the Austrian criminal code, designed for the indictment of mafia rings and terrorist networks!

The affair seemed to be almost over in September 2008 when those held on remand for over three months without charge and without full access to their files were released following national and international outcry. Alas, the machine set in motion to crush the animal rights movement within Austria is rolling on, in spite of heated public protest against such an aberrant application of article 278a.  It would appear that charges are imminent!

VGT (Association Against Animal Factories) has published police reports in German on its website. An English summary of these reports is available here and here. It indicates that the police have still found no proof of crimes carried out in the name of animal rights. If charges are brought, they will therefore depend on the infamous article 278a relating to “criminal organisations”.

Appeal for international solidarity

The association VGT is now appealing to animal protection groups around the world to sign an open letter in English to the Austrian Minister of Justice. It will be presented to her in less than two weeks.

Your association wishes to sign this letter?  Here is what to do:

Send an e-mail to martin.balluchXXXvgt.at with copy to contactXXXl214.com. [replace “XXX” by @]

Write this in the subject line: Open Letter to Austrian Minister of Justice

In the body of the message write simply the name of your association under its logo and add its website address (if it has one).
The message can be written in English or German. Here is a model to follow, if you wish:

Our organisation signs the open letter to Austrian Minister of Justice

Name: write the name of your association here

Web: write your website address here

Country: fill in your country

Don’t forget to insert your logo!

Please forward this appeal to other associations.
If you can, translate it for associations in other countries. (A French translation is already available.)

If you want to be regularly informed on developments in this affair, subscribe to this group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Freedom_for_Austrian_Activists.